PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - The Washington State Cougars were probably the only ones who believed they could upset the UCLA Bruins Saturday night.
As it tutned out, the Cougars not only beat the No. 2 team in the Pac-12 Conference, they routed the Bruins 73-55.
“It means a lot to this team,” Washington State coach Ken Bone said. “We have been through a rough season and haven’t won a conference game since February 1st and to come out and beat a great team means a lot.”
Que Johnson scored 14 points and hit four 3’s for Washington State (10-20, 3-15 Pac-12) which escaped a last-place finish.
After falling to Southern California Thursday, the Cougars fell into the conference cellar, but the Trojans lost at Washington Saturday, allowing WSU to climb one notch to 11th.
Freshmen Ike Iroegbu added 14 points and D.J. Shelton scored 10 points and pulled down 14 rebounds on senior night, as Washington State snapped an eight game losing streak.
Shelton’s 14 rebounds moved him into fifth place for the most rebounds in school history.
UCLA (23-8, 12-6) jumped out to a 9-0 lead by knocking down its first five shots, but then the Bruins then went cold from the field.
“I called a timeout and told the team to calm down and let the game come to them,” Bone said. “I think we were just trying too hard.”
The timeout worked, and the Cougars ramped up their defense. The Bruins went cold from the field and Washington State took advantage. Iroegbu hit a 3-pointer to end an 8-0 run and give the Cougars a 26-24 lead with 3:36 left in the half.
The Cougars kept rolling and outscored UCLA 16-2 to end the half 34-26.
“We just didn’t concentrate, and if you don’t concentrate at this level, you are simply not going to make shots or make plays.” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “I mean we really only had one or two guys that played with the energy and toughness we have to play with.”
Washington State extended its lead to 17 at the 13:42 mark off back-to-back 3’s by Johnson and held a double digit lead the rest of the way.
UCLA cut the lead to ten, 48-38 off a put back by Tony Parker at the 9:32 mark, but that would be as close as the Bruins would come.
Washington State had the inside-outside game clicking in the second half. The Cougars hit ten 3-pointers in the contest and outscored the Bruins 20-12 in the paint.
Kyle Anderson scored 19 points and Bryce Alford had 10 points, but the pair were the only scorers in double figures for UCLA, which posted its lowest-scoring game of the season.
The Bruins already secured a second place finish in the conference.
The win marked the first time Washington State has beaten UCLA in back-to-back seasons since 1936. Washington State beat the Bruins in Pullman last year.
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